Photograph courtesy Rimba Jimbaran and Ayana Resort and Spa
From a safari in Africa to an overwater bungalow in the South Pacific, the thought of a far-flung honeymoon can make brides and grooms break out in hives as visions of drained savings accounts dance through their heads. But a long-haul honeymoon doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little research (which countries have a favorable exchange rate?) and some strategic plan-ning (cashing in credit card rewards for airline tickets), you can stretch your dollars and expand your horizons. One place that passes the test? The blissful Indonesian island of Bali.
Sandwiched between Australia, to its south, and Malaysia, to its north, Indonesia is a relatively affordable destination for Americans, with an exchange rate of about 13,000 rupiah for one U.S. dollar. For newlyweds headed to Bali, this means hotel and resort stays at surprisingly sensible rates. One such resort is RIMBA Jimbaran, located on Bali’s southwestern coast. RIMBA Jimbaran, which opened in 2013, is a beautiful showplace of modern architecture, glossy marble surfaces, and contemporary artwork. Happily for honeymooners, RIMBA’s rates start at just $170 per night. And with in-room amenities including deep soaking tubs, rain showers, flat-panel TVs, WiFi, and private balconies, wallet-friendly rates don’t come at the expense of creature comforts.
Sweetening the pot? RIMBA shares its 90-hectare setting with posh sister resort AYANA Resort & Spa, and complimentary shuttles travel between the two every 15 minutes so that guests can enjoy ameni-ties—11 swimming pools, 15 restaurants and bars, and two spas—at both properties.
A strong dollar can help take the sting out of signing the check for your on-site services, from spa treatments to meals, but dining locally a few times during your stay can save even more cash and give you an authentic taste of local life. Jimbaran is rife with good restaurants serving grilled, locally caught seafood and traditional Indonesian dishes ranging from five to 25 dollars—a fraction of what luxury resorts often ask their guests to pay. Not sure which to pick? RIMBA’s concierge will point you in the right direction, but Warung Santai, a 20-minute drive away, and Lia Café, just 15 minutes away, are worth putting on your short list.
A trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Ubud, the island’s cultural and artistic hub. Whether you stay for a few nights or make the 90-minute drive from your base in Jimbaran for a day trip, you can sightsee (don’t miss the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary), shop (grab textiles, sarongs, and woven straw totes on popular shopping thoroughfares Monkey Forest Road, Jalan Raya Ubud, and Jalan Hanoman), explore (lace up your hiking boots for a trek through Tegallalang Rice Terraces), and sample tasty Asian cuisine (try Putu’s Wild Ginger) at myriad sidewalk cafés with enough funds left over to splurge on an extra spa treatment or cocktail upon returning to your hotel. As is the case in any tourism-driven destination, try your hand at negotiating and keep a close eye on exchange rates as your departure time draws nearer so you know what to expect when you arrive. In Bali, the benefits of your research will reap unforgettable rewards.
RIMBA Jimbaran. Rustic-luxe resort with glam suites, lush forest views, and restaurants and activities aplenty. rimbajimbaran.com
AYANA Resort and Spa. Posh, Asian-style resort with Club Level Suites, opulent private villas, and the can’t-miss Rock Bar Bali. ayanaresort.com